RYAN GRIM, D.C. BUREAU CHIEF, THE INTERCEPT: So that means if you -- if you craft a message that appeals to people who were turned off by Democrats in 2016, but clearly are willing to vote for them because they voted for them in 2018, then you`re probably also just incidentally going to capture a bunch of those Obama to Trump people as well.
So that right there gets you your majority.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: All right. Joy Reid and Ryan Grim, thank you both.
JOY REID, MSNBC NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Thank you.
HAYES: That is ALL IN for this evening.
"THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thanks, my friend. Much appreciated.
HAYES: You bet.
MADDOW: Thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. Happy to have you here.
This was the scene outside Republican U.S. Senator John Cornyn`s district office in Houston, Texas.
What you can hear people saying there is "close the camps, close the camps."
It was the same slogan at the federal building in Raleigh, North Carolina today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PROTESTERS: Close the camps! Now! Close the camps! Now! Close the camps! Now!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: This was the scene in New York City today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PROTESTERS: Close the camps! Close the camps!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Again, "close the camps. Close the camps."
These protests around the country today, these are not something that had a ton of lead time or a ton of national press attention. These were a fairly spontaneous thing. But there were "close the camps" protests that sprung up all over the country today, red states and blue states alike.
On Friday last week, you might remember the head of the Homeland Security Department in the Trump administration told Congress that unfortunately his department, Homeland Security, was dealing with a new national sensation, that`s the word he used, a sensation that had been unfairly created by what he called unsubstantiated allegations, unsubstantiated allegations of terrible conditions and crowding at facilities locking up immigrants run by his department. He said the claims about those facilities and the conditions in which immigrants, including little kids were being held, those were all unsubstantiated claims.
There was no reason for the national uproar over this. There was no reason for this unfortunate sensation. All of the supposed concern and criticism about those alleged conditions, they weren`t based on reality and they were just making things harder for his department.
We heard something similar from an unnamed Customs and Border Patrol official who did a press call with reporters last week. After a group of lawyers came out of border patrol facilities in Texas describing what they said were the worst conditions they had ever seen in decades of monitoring conditions at facilities like that. After those lawyers came out of those facilities and started telling those stories, Customs and Border Patrol official who would not give his or her name did a press call last week with reporters in which that official said, quote, I personally don`t believe these allegations.
Well, today, the actual Department of Homeland Security released their own photographs and their own report, which they labeled a management alert, documenting exactly the same kinds of conditions in these facilities run by the Homeland Security Department that it`s own officials had been dismissing for the past week as unsubstantiated and sensational allegations. This report from Homeland Security, from the inspector general, is about conditions in which both adults and kids are being held. The report is titled, "Management alert: homeland security needs to address dangerous overcrowding and prolonged detention of children and adults in the Rio Grande Valley."
This is the inspector general from the Homeland Security Department reporting on what its personnel found when they made unannounced inspections at these facilities run by the Trump administration in south Texas in the Rio Grande Valley.
And, again, this comes right after the head of that agency and some senior official of border patrol went on the record with these public proclamations about these terribly unsubstantiated hysterical allegations and how they don`t really believe anything is wrong in these facilities. Well, here is their own department spelling it out, and remarkably, including pictures of what exactly they`re describing. Start with just one of the five border patrol facilities they say they visited in south Texas.
This is the Ft. Brown station, which is run by the Border Patrol in Brownsville, Texas. And this is not like in some border netherworld that isn`t America, right? Some place that Americans never go to. This is not some facility separate and apart from American life where we could never have any idea this was happening in our midst.
I mean, the Ft. Brown Border Patrol station in Brownsville, look at it on the map. It`s right next to a FedEx shipping center, a subway sandwich shop. A little strip mall called Veterans Plaza, a bunch of churches nearby. It`s basically right next to one of the campuses of the University of Texas, their Rio Grande Valley campus is right there to the west of that facility, just a stone`s throw from this Border Patrol facility that is run by the federal government of the United States with our taxpayer dollars, and according to the Homeland Security Department`s inspector general, and it is the Homeland Security Department that is running that facility, according to them that -- this is what`s going on inside.
Quote: Senior managers at several facilities raised security concerns for their agents and the detainees. For example, one called the situation a ticking time bomb. We ended our visit at one border control facility early, this is the facility in Brownsville, because our presence was agitating an already difficult situation.
Specifically when detainees observed us, meaning detainees observed the inspectors, they banged on the cell windows pressed notes to the windows with their time in custody and gestured to things that indicated their time in custody, evidence of their time in custody, for example, beards. And see figure 6. Here is figure 6.
You see on the door, we`ve blown out that upper right-hand corner. It says capacity 41. That`s the maximum capacity, the rated capacity by the fire marshal for the number of people who are ever supposed to be in that room.
According to homeland security inspectors at that moment, there were 88 men being held in that room with a maximum capacity of 41. Some of them, quote, signaling prolonged detention to inspector general staff. That photo taken on June 12th, 2019. You see the sign there, "help, 40 days."
In these overcrowded conditions, Border Patrol was unable to meet its own standards. Although agency standards require Border Patrol to make a reasonable effort to provide a shower for adults after 72 hours, most single adults hasn`t had a shower in Border Patrol custody despite some being held as long as a month. In some facilities, Border Patrol is giving detainees wet wipes to maintain personal hygiene. Most adult detainees were wearing clothes arrived in days and weeks, and even up to a month prior. Further, although standards require agents to remain cognizant of detainees religious and other dietary restrictions, many single adults had been receiving only bologna sandwiches. Some detainees on this diet were becoming constipated and required medical attention.
At that same facility, at that Ft. Brown station, again, right in the middle of that normal American neighborhood in Brownsville, Texas, inspector general also posted this photo of women -- you see there on the left, and again there in a cell. You can see the capacity on the door. That`s an overcapacity cell. You see the woman there at the front wearing an infection control mask pressing her hands up against the glass, the women holding their hands up to try to communicate with, to try to plead with the inspectors.
On the right, that`s another cell. That one designed specifically for women but it`s holding adult men. That cell, again, capacity, 41. The inspector general says when they took that picture, there were 71 adult males in that room. You see one man there holding his hands up the glass as if he`s praying.
At that facility in Brownsville, and at another one about an hour west in McAllen, Texas, the Homeland Security Department`s inspector general says single adults were held in standing room only conditions for a week, some single adults head for more than a month in cells that were this crowded. Literally not enough room to sit down let alone lie down. Standing room only.
These are more images that the inspector general included in its report today, specifically from the border patrol facility in McAllen, Texas. These are the conditions in which they`re holding families. Again, these aren`t people who have been convicted of any crime, being held by the federal government in conditions that the U.S. government didn`t used to get itself into, at least for this duration because they didn`t have the same kind of policies about holding on to people indefinitely.
I mean, you can see these aren`t facilities that are designed to hold people for any length of time at all. This is a pen basically, a concrete floor. And they`re holding people in conditions just like this for weeks and months at a time.
The inspector general`s office has blurred out a lot of the faces in these pictures, but as you can see, this includes little kids being held in these conditions. Including in one of those photos where they`ve got the Mylar blankets that kind of look like aluminum foil, in possibly one maybe both of those images, it`s hard to tell. We tried to get higher resolution photos from the Department of Homeland Security. They wouldn`t give us anything at higher resolution.
In those photos, as you can see, it looks like those kids may be being held on their own away from adults, away from their families. But, again, at this resolution it is hard to see. There is another facility where the inspectors dropped in unannounced. This is Weslaco, Texas. I think it`s the way you say it, Weslaco. It`s in between McAllen and Brownsville.
And, again, this is in the middle of a normal American neighborhood. This facility is right next door to an olive garden and a longhorn steakhouse and there is a Lowe`s home improvement right there on the same side of the street, next to the local police station, across the street from a Super 8 motel. These are the conditions inside that facility in America.
And this is not like an overcrowded waiting room where people are parked for an hour or two before they`re processed and moved on. This isn`t a waiting area. This is housing. This is the living conditions as provided by the U.S. government, as provided on an indefinite basis for days, for weeks, for more than a month, even for these little kids.
It`s not like this is a room where they hang out and then they go to the room where they sleep. This is it.
Legally, the U.S. government cannot detain kids specifically longer than 72 hours before it needs to move them out somewhere else, but in this case, it`s just holding on to them. The inspector general says even in these five facilities they found hundreds of kids being held beyond that legal limit.
According to the inspector general, quote: Children at three of the five border patrol facilities we visited had no access to showers. At the facilities, children had limited access to a change of clothes. Border patrol had few spare clothes and no laundry facilities. Two facilities had not provided children access to hot meals until the week we arrived.
And, again, this is the agency`s own report on its own behavior, right? This is the inspector general from the Homeland Security Department. And for the second time in a month they have put out a report like this.
This is a management alert, second one in a month, specifically about dangerous overcrowding and prolonged and inappropriate detention facilities -- detention conditions. Those conditions identified in May and now identified again as a serious issue that requires immediate attention, while our prior management alert identified similar issues with respect to single adults, this alert highlights additional concerns with respect to unaccompanied children and families being detained in the facilities we visited.
Quote: we remain concerned that homeland security is not taking sufficient measures to address prolonged detention in border patrol custody.
Now, when it comes to this new report with these photos from these facilities in Brownsville and McAllen and the towns in between, we know that the Homeland Security Department and the Trump administration got advanced notice that this blistering report was coming out. And we know that two ways.
First of all, we know it because "BuzzFeed News" had a report a few days ago that this was coming and that this report was going to portray conditions that were dire and shocking. "BuzzFeed" reported that it was already circulating inside the Homeland Security Department but had not yet been publicly released. Well, we also know, however, that the Homeland Security Department got advanced notice that this report was coming out because when they did finally publicly release it today, at the introduction to the report today, the inspector general says overtly that the department was provided a draft of this report. They were allowed to provide comments on a draft of this report before this final version of it was published so we could all see it today.
So, they knew this was coming. They`ve known this was coming for more than days, maybe as much as a week or two. Pictures that they included in the report they say were taken around July 11th, July 12th. How soon after that they knew this report was coming, we don`t know, but they had advanced notice.
We know they knew the while country was about to see these pictures of these families and these little kids and these men and the standing room only cells with people pleading for help and banging on the glass and saying they`ve been held in conditions like this for 40 days. Please help.
They knew this was coming. They likely knew this was coming today. Well, what`s the consequence of that?
Tonight, NBC News is reporting that somehow customs and border patrol urgently figured out a way to move out most of the kids they admit were in their custody. As of a month ago, Border Patrol said they had 2,350 kids under their control. As of today, the day this report comes out, miraculously they say it`s down below 300.
Now, we don`t know what it was that lit a fire under Border Patrol to finally start moving kids out of these conditions in such significant numbers, but between, you know, close the camps, close the camps becoming a rallying cry across the country and these photos being released and this inspector general report being released documenting this stuff and letting the department know, hey, in a few days we`re going public with this and everybody`s going to see these images.
And with van loads of Democratic members of Congress turning up at these facilities now and describing what they saw, and at least in some cases refusing to hand over their phones so they could despite the insistence from the agency actually videotape what was going on inside these facilities and take pictures. Somewhere in there, pick your -- choose your own adventure here. But one of those things might have become at last an effective pressure point on the Border Patrol to move hundreds, maybe as many as 2,000 kids out of their custody in short order.
Today, there was another one of those congressional delegations that went into the facility holding immigrants in Homestead, Florida. Yesterday, it was members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus who showed up at some of these facilities in Texas.
When I mentioned that at least in a few instances we had members of Congress who were able to take pictures or videos inside these facilities despite the agencies telling them not to, one of the videos I`m describing there was shot by a member of Congress named Joaquin Castro from Texas. He`s the brother of presidential candidate Julian Castro, who incidentally is going to be live on set with us in just a moment.
I know we featured this video from Congressman Castro on the show last night. You may have seen it. But just watch toward the end here when you can hear the discussion in the room and it becomes clear one of the things these members of Congress are doing in the room is pressing the staff at this facility, this facility in El Paso, advocating for these women who they`ve been interviewing, who they`ve been meeting with and who need some very specific medical care that they haven`t been able to get.
There, for example, is a discussion about a woman who has had medication taken away from her. Some of the members of Congress in this delegation said they spoke to a woman with epilepsy who had not been given access to her anti-epileptic medication. There is also discussion on this video with another woman who is told she needs to get a biopsy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There`s a woman here, the doctor told her she needs a biopsy for the lump on her back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don`t have the facility for that here, but we`ll make sure that we`ll continue her care. It`s on her record. When she gets to her next stop, wherever that is, whether it`s in our custody or out, those records go with her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: You hear the person representing the facility there saying, oh, we obviously don`t have the ability to do anything like that here. I mean, clearly, these women are now being housed in a room with no furniture just with blankets, right?
So, no, we don`t have the facility to get you your biopsy, but we`ll make sure you get access to that when you go to your next stop. We`ll make sure it`s noted in your -- will you? Really?
I mean, that`s individual members of Congress in the room pressing on issues like that. Saying is this woman going to get her biopsy? She`s been told by the doctor that she needs to have this biopsied. What`s going on with that? We`ll make sure that gets handled.
Having a member of Congress there or ten pressing on an issue like that tends to make a pressure point out of circumstances like that. And indeed after that video was shot just yesterday at that border facility in El Paso by Congressman Castro, today in El Paso, these community doctors who have been involved in treating immigrants, they came forward to say, no, they are not getting adequate access to these immigrants, to the kids, to the mothers, to the fathers, to the families, to the individual adults traveling through here.
They say contrary to the way it has been done in the past, by the time they`re being allowed to see anyone who has been in federal custody, they are finding that the people who they`re finally getting access to are dehydrated, they`ve got untreated infectious diseases. They`ve been denied medications for chronic diseases, even if they had it with them when they came in. They`re now getting people from the U.S. federal government in such bad shape they`re finding it to be dangerous in unprecedented ways.
So, these local community doctors from these neighborhoods in America nearby these facilities where these folks are being held, they`re demanding more access.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. CARLOS GUTIERREZ, PEDIATRICIAN: There`s no one better than us to take care of these men, women and children. We have the contacts of other specialists if we need those specialists. They don`t.
And to this day we are not allowed any contact with whoever is providing the medical care over there and that`s just -- that`s just not -- it`s very upsetting and I hope to God that this changes quickly. So, no contact is allowed between whoever is providing medical care in their centers and us on the outside.
That is piss poor medical care. That is not medical care. That`s malpractice.
And we ask over and over and over again -- I`ve been interviewed by multiple news agencies, and that is my biggest beef, let us in there. We have the doctors that are willing to go in there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The pressure on this is only going to increase, both locally in the neighborhoods and communities where these facilities exist, but also around the country. It`s only going to increase in coming days. I mean, part of the reason we know that is because Congressman Elijah Cummings on the Oversight Committee in Congress has announced next week, Friday, July 12th, there is going to be an oversight hearing in Congress on the conditions of these facilities at the border and the behavior of the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Patrol in particular.
Congressman Cummings had previously acted the secretary of homeland security and the head of Customs and Border Patrol to come and testify. He says that he had no confirmation whether or not they would appear. Now he is restating that demand.
And I think it will be hard for those officials to stay away. I mean, the homeland security secretary has been proven wrong now by his own agency, right? He went to Congress and said these allegations about bad conditions in his facilities, these were just unsubstantiated allegations that were creating a sensation. That was a handful of days ago.
Now, his own agency has published these photos and this urgent management alert calling exactly the same alarm, right? Saying exactly the same thing which he was dismissing as unsubstantiated just days ago.
Customs and Border Patrol has had to announce there are two separate inquiries into a Facebook group exposed by pro public ka which includes thousands of posts from what appeared to be current and former Border Patrol agents, including overt threats to specific members of Congress and mocking the deaths of immigrants in federal custody.
And so, the pressure is only increasing on the Trump administration, and by the individual officials responsible within the Trump administration as more is known and as more alarms are sounded about what they`ve been trying to do to these human beings who have come into their clutches on the border.
But we are in what I think of as a position of sort of political and moral tension right now, where the exposure of what they`ve been doing and the pressure it is engendering. That pressure is having an effect, but it`s not like they`ve been doing any of this stuff by accident, right? And it`s not like they`re terribly ashamed of anything they`ve been doing.
The Trump White House is not exactly losing sleep over any perception that under President Trump, the U.S. government might be particularly abusive toward immigrants. I mean, the White House, for example, has just announced that the president still wants to launch a nationwide roundup of immigrant families, families specifically. They make sure they get that into every discussion.
This proposed roundup from the president he initially promised it would be millions of people rounded up. It has been delayed several times in the past couple weeks. He`s been firing his way through federal agency heads until he gets someone who is going to agree to do it the way he wants it. But he`s now announcing, the White House announcing President Trump wants those rounds of immigrant families around the country to start right after the Fourth of July. Kind of the finale for the fireworks, right?
On the second night of the Democratic debate last week, on Thursday, the Trump administration also floated a new idea on immigration, which is the sort of thing he might, like, cook up in a lab if you were trying to design the most gut-wrenching, merciless designed to be offensive policy, right, that you could possibly imagine. Something that was designed to stoke outrage and show off, you know, cruelty and intentional infliction of pain for people who least deserve it, like it was a contest for that. This is what you`d submit to try to win.
This was the headline at NPR on Thursday. Quote: Trump wants to withdraw deportation protections for families of active troops.
They think that there hasn`t been enough outrage. They`re not getting enough supposedly negative attention for the way they treat immigrants, and so the next anti-immigrant thing they`re floating, and they floated it right as the Democratic presidential candidates were getting to the debate stage, I`m sure they were hoping this would be a topic of discussion. Literally what they`re floating now is deporting U.S. military families, deporting the family members of active duty serving U.S. troops.
How do you like that? Does that get you mad?
I mean, the pressure against these agencies does have an effect on what these agencies do. The courts do have an effect on what they can get away with. Just today, an ACLU lawsuit was successful in blocking the Trump administration from keeping people locked up wholesale for the crime of requesting asylum in this country, which is not a crime.
The Trump administration changed U.S. policy after decades so that now the response of the U.S. government to somebody asking for asylum is that that person gets locked up with no hearing. According to a federal judge today, you cannot do that under the law and the constitution. That federal judge today block what the Trump administration has been trying to do, essentially reinstating the previous process that the U.S. government used for the last half a century to deal with asylum claims.
The Trump administration today also gave up on its effort to basically try to hot wire the U.S. Census in a way that appeared to be deliberately designed to undercount Latinos and thereby undercut Latino voting power and skew districts towards Republicans and white people in particular at least for a decade and maybe even longer.
A Supreme Court ruling striking down the Trump administration`s effort to re-jigger the census last week was written in such a way that the Trump administration could maybe have tried to come back at it and convince the court to let them try and do it in time for the 2020 census. But today, the Trump administration gave up, they decided they couldn`t do it, and at least for the 2020 census, they will not try to get away with that this time.
And so, in this environment, in this position of political and moral tension, what do you do if you`re, say, a Democratic presidential candidate who is trying to earn the right to represent the Democratic Party in the general election to defeat Donald Trump? You`re a candidate who cares deeply about an issue like this. As polls show most Democratic voters do.
I mean, it turns out that outrage does have an effect. Exposure does have an effect. Pressure does work. The courts do provide some refuge.
And also at the same time, this is the turf on which Donald Trump wants to contest the next election. He is running on purpose on a position of maximum cruelty toward immigrants of every station -- kids, families, literally the family members of serving active duty U.S. troops. Who else you got?
I mean, he is running on like a kick puppies platform, right? So the Democratic Party is coming in deeply opposed to what he`s doing and trying to say, you know, this ground on which you are changing American values and American policy and treating people in this way, we can want to contest you on this ground and the more they do, the more Trump administration wants it and the more they keep upping the ante in terms of their performative cruelty on this issue.
And these are real people`s lives. And if this is one of the issues you care most about, how do you beat the Trump administration? How do you beat President Trump on this issue in the election? While being cognizant of the fact that this is exactly the fight that he wants to have and anything you throw at him on this he thinks makes him stronger.
I know just the guy to ask. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JULIAN CASTRO (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Some of us on this stage have called to end that section, to terminate it. Some, like Congressman O`Rourke, have not, and I want to challenge all of the candidates to do that.
CASTRO: I just think it`s a mistake, Beto. I think it`s a mistake. And I think if you truly want to change the system, then we`ve got to repeal that section.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That was the first night of the Democratic debate last week. A strong performance and very well-regarded performance from Julian Castro.
He was the U.S. secretary of Housing and Urban Development during the Obama administration. He was also the mayor of San Antonio, Texas. He is now quite obviously a candidate for president in the Democratic primary.
Secretary Castro, thanks for being here tonight. It`s nice to see you.
CASTRO: It`s great to be with you, Rachel.
MADDOW: I have a lot I want to ask you but because this is the first time I`ve seen you since the debate, I do think that -- I think it`s inarguable that you had a strong performance and I know that some polling numbers, particularly a Univision poll of Latino voters today, showed a big bump for you since the debate.
Let me just ask you how the debate has affected your campaign?
CASTRO: Well, in all the ways that you might think. First of all, I was glad to have a great night that night. And my name ID has been lower than some of the other candidates. So, I know I had an opportunity to introduce myself to a lot of new voters. A lot more money, a lot more media attention and I think gathering support, as that Univision poll makes clear.
MADDOW: In terms of the money, the fund-raising quarter ended this week. You`re going to be putting out numbers presumably soon?
CASTRO: We are, in the next couple of days. But we had our best four fundraising days in the four days after the debate. And now, we`re --
MADDOW: Of the entire campaign?
CASTRO: That`s right. We`re up to 116,000 unique donors. As you know, this is important because you need 130,000 unique donors to get on to the September debate stage. And we raised in the three or four days after that debate about a million dollars. So, you know, for -- look, I mean, I`ll set expectations now. I`m not going to be anywhere near the top in terms of fundraising, but I had a lot stronger second quarter than first quarter.
MADDOW: And having that fundraising there, obviously, that`s a demonstration of strength in terms of your organizational capacity. Practically, what does that mean in terms of hiring staff or what you plan to do with the money raised?
CASTRO: Well, it means we`re going to capitalize on this momentum, staffing up, getting more organizers on the ground in these early states, and at the headquarters in San Antonio and just the ability to compete. As you know and folks know out there, it takes money, it takes resources.
And so, I just see this campaign getting stronger and stronger and stronger. I have always said that I don`t want to be a flash in the pan candidate. I want to build a campaign that gets stronger between now and February 3rd, 2020, when Iowa caucuses, and that`s what`s happening.
MADDOW: In terms of your policy platform, you were the first candidate among all the myriad of Democratic candidates to put out a full immigration proposal. It`s part of the reason I wanted to talk to you tonight. Particularly given this homeland security inspector general report with these images from multiple border patrol facilities in the Rio Grande Valley, the inspector general for the second time in a month sounding the alarm about really unconscionable conditions there.
I wonder if you see that actually as a good sign that the people who are supposed to be blowing the whistle on this are doing so, or is this a bad sign that this is a second time in a month they`ve had to do something and the Trump administration is still denying there`s a problem?
CASTRO: Well, it`s good sign in a sense that somebody is getting in there, getting these images, and, you know, shocking the conscience and hopefully spurring people to action in that administration. It`s a bad sign in that, you know, this is not the first time that that`s happened either with the inspector general or other images that have gotten out. And they don`t seem to care. Like you said, it seems like the cruelty is the point.
What we have here is a moral crisis, a failure of moral leadership on the part of this president. And so, I`ve said, look, I`m going to be fearless, I`m going to be bold, I`m going to offer a completely different vision on what we should do on immigration to make sure that we have an immigration system that`s fixed, that works with border security, but that never treats people like this again.
And that`s the conversation that you saw on the debate, which is that I believe when centerpiece of that is repealing Section 1325 of the Immigration and Nationality Act so that not only this president but future presidents can`t ever use that law to incarcerate parents and then separate them from their little children.
MADDOW: Secretary Castro, if you could stick with us for just one quick break, I do want to talk to you specifically about what it means to be campaigning ultimately against Donald Trump on this issue, given how much he welcomes this controversy.
Secretary Julian Castro is our guest. We`ll be right back. Stay with us.
MADDOW: We`re back with former HUD secretary and 2020 presidential candidate, Julian Castro.
Mister -- Secretary Castro, thanks for doing this.
The Justice Department today in sort of a surprise announced that they are not going to try to get that citizenship question on the 2020 census. The Supreme Court ruling last week, and the Justice Department -- the Trump administration could have gone back at it. They could have tried again. They`re not going to. And the 2020 census is not going to have that question.
The fact remains that they tried to, they tried really hard to do that. And I just -- strategically, I wonder as you think about the prospect of becoming the Democratic nominee, running against Donald Trump, he is eager to be seen as being I think as cruel as possible to immigrants. I think he`s eager to be seen as acting against the interests of Latino voters, and certainly Democratic voters.
I wonder to the extent that you fight him on this stuff, and you`ve made it such a priority in your campaign so far, how much do you worry about playing on his turf and playing to an image that he likes for his base?
CASTRO: Number one, I don`t think we have any choice. He has a huge bullhorn, and so, he`s going to make this an issue. So I believe that we have to offer a compelling strong alternative.
Now, I`ve said that we can maintain border security, but what I`m betting is that there are enough people out there that know that we can do this a better way. And if he`s going to proceed with a dark heart of cruelty, then I want to proceed with a heart of compassion and common sense.
And I`ll tell you, about a year ago, I was at the Ursula Processing Center down in McAllen, Texas, on the border. I was there to join activists protesting the family separation policy. And as sad as the situation was with the little children that were inside that facility, what gave me hope was that the activists that were there, they were white, they were black, they were Asian-American, they were Latino.
In other words, it was people of all different backgrounds from throughout the country who were united with their compassion and their values, their belief in humanity and a common respect for these human beings, no matter the color of their skin or the fact that they`re not American. I`m betting on that, even as he bets on cruelty.
MADDOW: I think that there are Trump administration officials who are susceptible to pressure and susceptible to the form of sort of course correction you expect from government when things get exposed in a way that the president himself is not. I think that we`ve seen changes within Homeland Security, even within Border Patrol -- some of these things have been exposed -- and as the courts and the press and protesters have put this kind of pressure on the administration.
I wonder if -- again, as somebody who cares deeply about this stuff -- if you think that individual Trump administration officials should basically be hauled up to account for these things? Should there be an impeachment effort against cabinet officials who have overseen these sort of things? Should there be potentially, you know, other -- other approaches toward the officials rather than toward Trump himself in terms of the people who are carrying this stuff out?
CASTRO: Oh, I think there should be accountability all the way around, and I hope that with Representative Cummings, with the other chairs of these committees, that that`s what they`re going to do.
I will say also, though, Rachel, I know because I led a federal department --
CASTRO: -- the Department of Housing and Urban Development, I know that there are career officials that are not a part of this agenda. They are our great hope in those departments to do the right thing, to expose the -- you know, cruelty and the evil that is happening, you know, to do what they can to call attention to what they see. We see that with some of the things that are happening, the leaks that happen out of the White House. We`ve seen that with the Department of Homeland Security, in addition to the work of the inspector general.
And I call upon them, those career officials, to do what they can to push back, to stop this cruel agenda of the president.
MADDOW: Julian Castro, secretary of Housing and Urban Development during the Obama administration, mayor of San Antonio, now a candidate for president in the Democratic primary -- we`ll see your second quarter fund- raising numbers in a couple of days. We`ll see you on the next debate stage at the end of the month.
CASTRO: Thank you.
MADDOW: Sir, thank you for being here.
CASTRO: Good to be with you.
MADDOW: Much appreciated.
All right. We`ll be right back. Stay with us.
MADDOW: Ever since Democrats took control of the House of Representatives two years into the Donald Trump presidency, it`s basically been brick wall versus brick wall in terms of Congress trying to get information from the executive branch, trying to get witnesses, trying to get testimony, and the president and the White House have been blocking absolutely everything. And when two immovable objects like that smash into each other it`s a recipe for, you know, rubble and dust, but not much useful.
That said, there is a third branch of government which can sometimes resolve these things when Congress and the executive branch collide. So far, Democrats have been warning that they are happy to go to the courts but you can`t go right away. If you want to win, you have to go through the process. You have to request the information and then have the -- make the request for information more sternly and then you have to follow those respects with subpoenas and then when the subpoenas don`t get respected, then you have to try to enforce them, but you have to show the courts that you`ve gone through all those steps.
Well, the only fight so far with the House has gone through that entire process and finally got the court on oversight matters are when they sought Trump`s financial records from his accounting firm and his bank in order to look into allegations of bank fraud and insurance fraud that had been made against the president. The president then sued those companies, sued Deutsche Bank and sued Mazar`s accounting firm to try to stop them from complying with Congress` subpoenas. Judges in both of those cases sided with Congress overwhelmingly and almost instantly ruled those subpoenas were valid and they must be respected.
And those cases now are still being appealed. They`ll still be worked out in the end, but it was a really bad start for the White House. By the time Congress -- the Democrats in Congress got to court, the courts were ready to hear their case and in both cases, it was like a first round knockout against the Trump White House.
I mean, on this oversight stuff with Congress so far, the Trump administration is 0 for 2. Well, now as of today, here comes number three. This time, it is the case on which the Trump administration honestly would appear to have the worst legal prospects because the law in this case is so clear.
This is the federal lawsuit today filed by the ways and means committee in the House against Trump`s Treasury Department and the IRS demanding that they turn over Trump`s tax returns. The chairman of the committee have requested the president`s tax returns under black letter century-old law that said the returns must be handed over, but the Trump administration still refused. The chairmen of the committee then subpoenaed the tax returns but the Trump administration still refused.
The primary point the committee is now making in its lawsuit today, now that they`ve decided to take this to the courts, is that the administration really doesn`t have a leg to stand on in refusing to comply. I mean, the text of the law says the treasury secretary shall furnish any tax return the committee chairman requests. The committee says in its lawsuit that in all the decades this law has been on the books, quote, the committee is not aware of any instance other than its request for President Trump`s tax return information in which the Treasury or the IRS has failed for comply with the plain meaning of the law and provide information requested by the committee.
And so far, you know, when these congressional oversight battles have made it all the way to court, we have seen two of those instances before, Congress has won. This third one is teed up as today -- as of today -- as to whether or not Democrats` expectations on this are as high as it might seem from their filing. We`ll find out next from a member of the committee that brought the court -- brought this case to court today.
That`s next. Stay with us.
MADDOW: Today, they went to court. The Ways and Means Committee in the House today filed a lawsuit to get President Trump`s tax returns. The Trump administration has been refusing to hand them over despite the fact that there is black letter century-old law that says they have to hand over those tax returns when the committee chairman makes that request.
This lawsuit today caps a long process. One member of that committee, in fact, made his first formal request for the president`s tax returns 2 1/2 years ago, less than two weeks after Donald Trump`s inauguration. The congressman who did that, who has been on that from the very beginning is Bill Pascrell of New Jersey.
And Congressman Pascrell joins us now.
So, thanks for being here.
REP. BILL PASCRELL (D-NJ): Good to be here, Rachel.
MADDOW: Why has this been so important for you from the beginning? You were really on it from the very start.
PASCRELL: Because -- and I wanted it to be a nonpartisan thing. I sent a letter to Kevin Brady, who was the chairman at the time, Republicans were in charge. I said, let`s do this together because it`s going to be big. When I tell you it`s going to be big, Kevin, it`s going to be big.
No, you cannot meddle into the president`s privacy. I said, you birds just did this two years ago when they were investigating the head of the IRS. Took 51 tax returns from people who were in, quote, unquote, liberal organizations without any hesitation whatsoever under this law, 6103, which they conveniently forget in two years, and I said what did you find out?
They found out nothing. The thing was dismissed. Nothing was found wrong. These people are exposed and their records exposed.
I believe we have a right to find out every president`s financial background, how he made his money and what is he doing, not only because of possible conflicts of interest, and there`s plenty to look at with this president, but because I want to know if the president of the United States is paying his fair share of taxes like I have to.
Don`t forget, this is what sunk Nixon in the very beginning. They went after him in court, but they found out he hadn`t paid his taxes. You know, it`s $550,000, something to that effect. In today`s numbers it would be millions.
I believe we have a right to know, and this is not for the public. It has to go through procedure. There has to be a hearing. The committee will vote to see if anything, if nothing will be exposed to the community, to the citizens of our country, to the rest of the Congress.
That`s the law, 6103 is very clear and I think 61 -- 6214 even better of the code because that says to Mnuchin, the defenders of the throne, the enablers, to Mnuchin and Rettig who didn`t have the guts to come forward because that`s how the request goes, to the head of the IRS. And they backed down and basically thumbed their nose at the Article I part of the government.
We exist. And by the way, we are Article I. President`s Article II. With all due respect, regardless to who the president is, we have a right to this information. And when you begin to take a look at this man, the president`s history in the past, this is not a Democrat or Republican thing, this will weaken the Congress if we don`t stand up, and I can assure you not only the members of the Ways and Means Committee that are Republican, but the rest of the Republicans in the House of Representatives and the Senate have backed off their responsibilities. They should be ashamed of themselves.
MADDOW: Congressman Bill Pascrell of New Jersey from the Ways and Means Committee -- thank you, in part, I want to say for explaining what happens that stuff received in executive session and voting whether or not it can be made public. Keep us apprised as this lawsuit moves forward.
PASCRELL: I will.
MADDOW: It`s good to have you here.
PASCRELL: Good to see you.
MADDOW: We`ll be right back. Stay with us.
MADDOW: I just wanted to recap something that we learned tonight from Secretary Julian Castro, who was here in studio with us for the interview. He had a big night at the first night at the Democratic debate.
A piece of news that he gave us, which I don`t think has been anywhere else is that his -- he and I guess his campaign are telling us tonight that they had 115,000 unique donors now. They had their four best fund-raising days of the entire campaign in the four days since the debate, raised over $1 million since the debate. Interestingly, though, Secretary Castro would not tell me what his quarter two fund-raising numbers are in total.
Those are fund-raising totals that we are going to start to see over the next few days from every campaign. So far Mayor Pete Buttigieg of Indiana has announced a gigantic second quarter fund-raising total, $24 million. Bernie Sanders has announced as of today that he raised the same amount in quarter two that he did in quarter one, $18 million, which is a lot but obviously he`s flat from quarter to quarter.
We expect now that the quarter has closed that we will get every campaign telling us how much money they have raised and how much they`ve got on hand. That will have a further sort of sorting effect in how people think about the various tiers of these candidates.
All right. That does it for us tonight. We`ll see you again tomorrow.
Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL".
Good evening, Lawrence.
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